Meet Allie Mae the pig

Brandon Paykamian • Apr 29, 2019 at 9:25 AM

Every year, Melanie Adkins brings her pet pig Allie Mae to East Tennessee State University ahead of final exams. It gives students a chance to forget their stress for a moment and meet a pet with a unique personality. 

“She is very obnoxious,” Adkins joked. 

David DeRegis, a freshman majoring in Spanish, said he was looking forward to meeting Allie Mae Wednesday and the therapy dogs set to visit the campus library Thursday.

He said meeting Allie Mae was a good way to manage his pre-finals stress as a first-year college student. 

“They’re just so cute, so they take your attention off finals,” he said as he fed her a handful of oats. 

But Allie Mae doesn’t just help students de-stress for the sake of it. She wants to know what’s in it for her. 

“They are not as loving as dogs. She’s not going to come and sit in your arms and let you love on her, and she’s not going to let you pick her up. She may come and sit on your lap when she’s wanting to be quiet — it’s on her terms,” Adkins said. “She’s going to see what they’ve got for her to eat. That’s how she interacts.”

Food is definitely the way to win Allie Mae over, Adkins said, pointing out the way her tail moves when she’s happy. Mini-Wheats and grapes are two of Allie Mae’s favorite treats. 

“If I want to give her a bath, she knows certain terms like ‘grapes, tomatoes and lettuce,’” she said. “I tell her, ‘We’re going to go take a bath and get some grapes.’”

Adkins said students seem to enjoy Allie Mae’s quirks, which she described as similar to a cat’s. 

“She’s very smart. She’s almost like a cat. You can call a cat by its name, and you know it’s listening by its ears, but it chooses not to respond,” she said.

But Allie Mae has some other peculiar mannerisms at home.

Adkins said she likes to fall asleep standing up when the sun comes through the window. At night, she puts herself to bed in a sleeping bag. 

“It's not like a dog or a cat you see every day,” Adkins said of Allie Mae’s charm. “I think it’s just so different.”

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